Sephora Uses iPad App to Drive Lipstick Business

Cosmetics retailer Sephora knew the iPad could produce a whole new market of buyers eager to swipe and tap their way into new make-up purchases. So they provided an app to make the experience as appealing as possible.

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Beauty is now in the hands of the tablet holder. Cosmetics, creams and gels retailer Sephora launched an app last year that's designed to leverage the crisp graphics capabilities of Apple's iPad and entice users not just to browse, but to buy. Now brick-and-mortar shoppers can use Sephora-provided iPads to access the app while they stroll the aisles of select stores.

Sephora is one of a batch of leading-edge companies hoping to capitalize on tablet commerce by building apps with the iPad in mind. While tablets still trail phones when it comes to mobile shopping, iPad users appear more likely to spend. According to an IBM survey conducted last year, iPad users who visited retail websites during the month of December converted their browsing to purchases 6.3 percent of the time, more than double the 3.1 percent for users of other mobile devices.

But selling on tablets is fundamentally different from selling on smartphones and requires a carefully thought-out design. Functions such as embedded video and page-swiping instead of scrolling, for example, define tablet navigation.

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